Petty Officer Philip Le Gros, better known as “Froggy”, joined the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy in 1939 as a 2nd Class Stoker. On the outbreak of World War II he was posted to the cruiser HMS LEANDER and whilst serving in the Mediterranean volunteered for service in submarines, joining the Triton class submarine HMS TORBAY in mid-1941. HMS TORBAY, under the control of Lieutenant Commander Miers was involved in a series of operational patrols which remain a legend within the Royal Navy.
The Oral History Project commenced in 1991 as part of the celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy.
The oral histories include veterans’ memories from as early as WW1 and include personal stories of naval personnel recently returned from duties in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, East Timor and the Sinai.
Oral history is an important method of collecting unique and personal recollections – historical evidence that might otherwise be lost forever. The recorded and transcribed interviews help to create a fuller understanding of our past. These testimonials provide a unique insight into the naval life of men and women during war and peace.
The recounting of the testimony can be emotional for an interviewee who may never have discussed the details of his or her experiences with anyone before. The Museum takes great responsibility in handling these unlocked memories.